How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
In this day and age, people are realizing more and more how important our overall health is related directly to our gut health. The problem is, most of us are unsure as to where to start when it comes to improving our gut’s health.
If we begin by taking a look at our gastrointestinal tract (GI) this is where the food that we eat passes through to our stomach. But guess what? So do bacteria, viruses, and even fungi pass through this same passage.
Now not all of these bacteria are bad, in fact, much of it is good for us. This type of bacteria is what we call good microbes, or probiotics, that help to balance our body, from our weight to the strength of our immunity. But what happens when the bad microbes overtake the good ones?
You will find that bad microbes within our gut can result in a number of afflictions, from depression to insomnia, slow metabolism to liver disease, migraines to acne, the list goes on. Does that mean that we need to expel all bad microbes from our body? Not necessarily, ideally, we want 85% probiotics to help keep things chugging along nicely for us.
Recognizing when your body is unbalanced is the first step, symptoms such as feeling gassy or bloated are a red flag that something is amiss. Other signs could be having difficulty going to the bathroom or finding yourself spending too much time in the bathroom.
Let’s now take a look at how we can improve our gut health, naturally. The first and possibly simplest way to adjust the balance of good versus bad microbes is your intake of sugar. By consuming a lot of sugar, you are basically feeding the bad microbes in your gut, as sugar to the microbes equals food, which, in turn, means procreation of bad microbes.
Improve Gut Health by Cutting Sugar
The problem with sugar is that it is everywhere, even in foods that we are told are healthy for us. For every four grams of sugar listed in the ingredients, we are ingesting one teaspoon into our bodies. The key to avoiding excess sugar is to avoid purchasing premade food products, to read the labels and note the sugar content within, and to be aware of the everyday foods we consume that have a lot of sugar.
Start with reducing it little by little, cut the amount in half over the period of two weeks, then by another half in another week, then another half in another week. Soon, a month will have gone by and your sugar intake will have drastically decreased and your gut health will be so much better for it.
You can also, adversely, increase foods that are good for gut health, that are rich in probiotics, such as kefir, sauerkraut, and certain yogurts. But be sure to avoid yogurts that are high in sugar content, as we previously discussed; your best bet is to go sugar-free and add some fruit to it.
Also, be sure to consume foods that are naturally high in fiber and that are not overly processed. So, for example, if you had to choose between instant oats and steel cut or rolled oats, the better choice is the latter because it is less processed.
Another way to help improve your gut health is to be aware of the produce you consume and where it has come from. The problem with fresh produce, although extremely good for us is that it is often covered with pesticides and chemicals in order to help maintain freshness and keep harmful bugs away.
Eating Healthy Foods and Avoiding Pesticides
So, how do we avoid all the extra pesticides and chemicals that cover our fruit and vegetables? Well, when possible, try and buy organic. If that is not possible, there are natural ways to wash your produce helping to rid it of much of the added pesticides present.
Knowing what the dirty dozen are is also a huge help; it is a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides present and should be purchased organically as much as possible. The rule of thumb for this is simple, the thicker the skin the fewer pesticides that are present.
The last main factor is almost a double-edged sword, antibiotics. The reason this one is so hard is because you are taking antibiotics to help with an infection, and yet by taking antibiotics you are actually killing off all the good bacteria in your gut.
Talk To Your Doctor About Improving Gut Health
The key here is to talk to your doctor and decide together whether antibiotics are absolutely necessary for you to take. In some cases, such as a urinary tract infection, cranberry juice can work just as effectively as a round of antibiotics.
Overall, you know your body and need to treat it with the respect that it deserves and not as a human trash can, listen to your gut and your gut health will be back on track in no time.